Gas Tax Tour: Use Saturn Parkway to get to Harbison? Well, it's about to get an upgrade

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - All this week, we are touring the roads in the Midlands that will enjoy the first dose of new funding, thanks to the recent gas tax increase.

Day four of our tour introduced us to Andrew McGauley, who noticed something quickly when he moved back to South Carolina from Tennessee.

"Yeah, the roads are much different here from Tennessee, not that I'm partial to Tennessee, because we grew up in Charleston, but they seem to do better at funding their roads than we do here in South Carolina," he said.

RELATED: The Gas Tax Tour

Now, South Carolina has a new tool to fund roads better: a gas tax increase. Soon, McGauley will know that firsthand because of where he works, Southern Siding on Saturn Parkway in Columbia.

"Saturn Parkway is a major in-and-out from our complex, so I have to use it every day," he said.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation will soon rehab portions of Saturn, which runs from Harbison Boulevard to Bower Parkway. Contractors will also repair the smaller stretch of Bower Parkway too – from Saturn to Piney Grove Road.

"Towards Harbison, there's definitely some needs for it up there," McGauley said. "I don't know about down here. It seems to be okay. But the upper end most definitely needs to be repaired up there."

DOT agrees. It'll add safety features like rumble strips and new paint, but it won't rebuild the whole stretch. Instead, it'll rehab the bad spots. DOT said it's cheaper to fix roads like Saturn and Bower Parkways now before they worsen.

Across the state, there's sizeable backlog of projects that only require simple fixes. It would cost about $3 billion to make those repairs.

"We're dealing with 30 years of deferred maintenance on pavements. The hole that we've dug for ourselves is quite deep. It's going to take us a long time to get out of that hole," said Christy Hall, the state's Secretary of Transportation.

Work on Saturn and Bower should be complete by the end of next August.

We requested the stats to find out how many collisions happened on this stretch from 2012 to 2016. There were 62 total collisions. 22 people were injured in those crashes.

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